In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Cybex Balios S Combo Review

Larger and heavier option with a higher price and disappointing quality and ease of use
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Price:   $400 List | $300 at Amazon
Pros:  Easier car seat connection, better maneuverability
Cons:  5 lb storage bin max, thicker fold, price
Manufacturer:   Cybex
By Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team  ⋅  Jun 9, 2020
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 24
  • Ease Of Attaching Car Seat - 30% 8
  • Ease Of Use - 30% 6
  • Weight/Folded Size - 25% 4
  • Quality - 10% 6
  • Maneuverability - 5% 7

The Skinny

The Cybex Balios S Combo offers easy to attach infant car seat compatibility with Cybex brand car seats, a larger storage bin, and a sturdy-feeling frame and wheels. It has a modern look and we can see why those committed to the brand or sold on the Cybex Aton 2 car seat might consider this their stroller of choice. However, we think the stroller has some poor attention to detail for the price and the plastic wheels make pushing and turning stiffer than we'd like. The storage bin maxes out at only 5.5 lbs and while it is easy enough to use, it is somewhat heavy and large for a car seat stroller. We think there is more to be had elsewhere no matter what your goals may be. That is of course unless your goal is a Cybex combination to go with your Aton 2.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

In 2014, Cybex launched in Germany within the Goodbaby International Holdings Ltd. company. The company strives for innovative products with safety and functionality at its core. They currently make car seats, strollers, and carriers for baby.

Performance Comparison



The Cybex Aton 2 paired with the Balios makes a sharp-looking final product.
The Cybex Aton 2 paired with the Balios makes a sharp-looking final product.

Ease of Attaching Car Seat


This stroller only works with Cybex car seats and we tested ours with the Cybex Aton 2. The infant carrier attaches to the Balios frame (below left) where the toddler seat attaches using the same adapters (below right). This design means there is nothing extra to buy or lose. You do need to remove the toddler seat, but this is quick and relatively painless.

The hardest part about car seat installation on the Balios is lining up both sides at the same time before pressing the carrier onto the adapter.
The seat connection points on the Balios are the same as those for the toddler seat attachment.

Aligning the two sides simultaneously is the most painful part of this attachment, but it isn't as challenging as some of the competition and it won't require two people or tissue to stop the frustration crying. It attaches fairly easily and you can't install it incorrectly. We didn't like how it releases but overall that isn't a fault so much as a preference.

The Balios folds in half but overall is on the larger side for a stroller / car seat combo option.
The Balios folds in half but overall is on the larger side for a stroller / car seat combo option.

Weight and Folded Size


The Balios isn't the lightest stroller to pair with your car seat given its weight sans seat of 18.2 lbs. However, it isn't one of the heavier options either. While most new moms will want to skip something this heavy, some parents may not mind lugging it around considering some options weigh over 20.


This stroller is also one of the larger options in this category that often includes smaller folded strollers as many lose their seats to become car seat compatible. The Balios is 12,456 cubic inches when folded.

While the front wheels on the Balios are sturdy and don't wobble  we think the maneuverability and the quality would be better if they were rubber like the back wheels.
The front plastic wheels on the Balios can be locked in place which theoretically makes it easier to keep the stroller going straight over uneven terrain.

Maneuverability


This product has single wheels on each front leg with plastic tires (above left). The wheels can lock in place (above right)to help keep the stroller on track over uneven surfaces, butter plastic makes the going rougher than it needs to be if all the wheels had been rubber. Overall, the Balios pushes and turns well on flat surfaces without any issues, but moving over grass and gravel is more challenging.

Ease of Use


This option demonstrates below average ease of use compared to the competition.

Folding the Balios initiates with the push button on the handlebar.
Folding the Balios initiates with the push button on the handlebar.

Fold and Unfold


The Cybex folds in half using a button on the handlebar. It locks in place automatically and self-stands for easier stowing. This product can roll like luggage when folded and has a carry handle on the top of the fold for this purpose.

The rocker pedal brake on the Balios is somewhat stiff and in our tests  we had to firmly hold the stroller in place to avoid it moving forward while setting the brakes.
The rocker pedal brake on the Balios is somewhat stiff and in our tests, we had to firmly hold the stroller in place to avoid it moving forward while setting the brakes.

Brakes


The single-action brakes on the Balios function with a rocker pedal. In our tests the brakes are stiff and the stroller rolls forward when we press the pedal. You'll need to hold the handlebar to prevent the stroller from escaping when you set the brake. Releasing the brakes is easier and sandal foot-friendly as you do not need to lift from the bottom.

The Cybex storage bin is large with great access  but unfortunately  it only holds up to 5.5 lbs of stuff.
The Balios does offer a side frame cup holder that expands and is fairly deep for taller cups or bottles.

Storage


This product has a large storage bin (above left) with great open access all-around. The maximum weight allowance is 11 lbs. As some of the competition have limits closer to 20 lbs, this seems low but still the average. It also sports a side frame cup holder (above right) big enough for a taller water bottle.

Sunshade


To attach the car seat carrier you first need to remove the toddler seat/canopy from the frame, so there is no shade when paired with the car seat.

Ease of Setup


It took almost 9 minutes to assemble the Balios. It is neither difficult nor easy, but it took longer than some of the more straightforward competition.



The included documentation is multi-language mashed together which is hard to follow, but there are worse directions in the stroller world.

The overall quality of Balios isn't bad  it just isn't as good as the competition with a similar price point.
The overall quality of Balios isn't bad, it just isn't as good as the competition with a similar price point.

Quality


The Balios quality is average compared to the competition; for the price, it probably won't disappoint you. Overall, it looks stylish but the materials and detail are slightly subpar when lined up side-b-side with the stiff competition. This stroller sports plastic front wheels and somewhat coarse fabric, which are just two details to demonstrate what is comparatively lacking. On the other hand, the wheels and frame both feel sturdy without any wobble.

Manufacturer's Video



Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team